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Archive for January, 2014

May it be said of me, then, that…

In hope Jane believed against hope (against overwhelming odds, against her sin, against her circumstances) that she should become a wholehearted, steadfast, resolute, pure and holy daughter of the living God of hope and be delivered day by day from the entanglements and stumblings of sin for all her days here on earth, just as she had been told, “It is for freedom you have been set free!”

She did not weaken in faith when she considered herself and the weakness of her own body, speech, appearance, and personality which were all just as good as dead anyways (since she was quiet and tearful and hunched over and introverted and slow to argue and quick to be opinionated and stubborn and impatient and prideful). Or when she considered the circumstances of her life (her husband’s schedule, her child’s school, her only child, her “stuff”, her husband’s “stuff”, her rental home, her lack of funds, her not very clean house, her books stacked on floors, her pots and dishes stacked on floors, her very normal and not very dramatic yet very traumatizing in her own mind life).

No unbelief made her waver concerning the promise of God (though it was there at times!), but (instead) she grew strong in her faith (she did not allow unbelief to take over) as she gave glory to God (this is what kept her eyes off of unbelief and doubt and caused her faith to increase with great strength), fully convinced (more and more and more) that God was able to do what he had promised.

That is why her faith will be ‘counted to her as righteousness.’ Because she believes in him who raised from the dead Jesus her Lord, who was delivered up for her trespasses and raised for her justification!

Therefore! Since she has been justified by faith, she has peace with God through her Lord Jesus Christ. Through him she has also obtained access by faith in this grace in which she stands, and she rejoices in hope of the glory of God.

Not only that, but she rejoices in her sufferings (those trials and circumstances and all those silly things listed), because she knows that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.

And hope does not put her to shame, no! Because God’s love has been poured into her heart through the Holy Spirit who has been given to her. For while she was still so, so, so weak (failing every day, unable to keep up with the Jones’, unable to always be nice, unable to be very compassionate, unable to give generously, unable to keep judging and blaming attitudes at bay), Christ died for her. God showed his love for her, that while she was still a sinner (reckless, unloving, wanting to remain unloving, wanting to be right), Christ died for her!

May it be said of me, then, that I am one who rejoices.

May it be said of me…and may it be said of you.

(taken from Romans 4:18 – 5:11)

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Lord, be the hammer that breaks open hearts of stone – in me, around me. May I take up this old-fashioned gospel hammer and strike as hard as I can with it, that I might see hearts burn, the brains of sin dashed, and souls running joyfully to Christ.

(The following are portions taken from We Endeavor: Helpful Words for Members of the Young People’s Society of Christian Endeavor, As A Fire…And Like A Hammer, by Charles Spurgeon. Be sure to watch good old-fashioned rock-breaking, too! I think it will enhance your reading, as it did for me.)

Is not my word like fire, and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces? Jeremiah 23:29

Brethren, when you preach, take the gospel hammer, and strike as hard as ever you can with it. “Oh, but I must try to improve the look of my hammer; it must have a mahogany handle!” Never mind about the mahogany handle; use your hammer for striking, for hammers are not for ornament, they are meant to be used for real hard work. And when you come to use the gospel as it ought to be used, the result is wonderful; it is a rock-breaking thing. “Oh!” you cry, “there is a very obdurate man there!” Strike at him with the gospel. “Oh, but he ridicules and scoffs at the truth!” Never mind if he does, keep on smiting him with the gospel. “Oh, but in a certain district, I have wielded this hammer against the rock for years, and nothing has come of it!” Still go on wielding it, for this is a hammer that never failed yet. Only continue to use it; everything is not accomplished with one stroke; nor, perhaps, with twenty strokes. The rock that does not yield the first time, nor the second time, nor the third time, nor the twentieth time, will yield at last. There is a process of disintegration taking place at every stroke; the great mass is inwardly moving even when you cannot see that it is doing so; and there will come at last one blow of the hammer which will seem to do the deed, but all the previous strokes contributed to it, and brought the rock into the right state for breaking it up at last. Hammer away, then with nothing but the gospel of Jesus Christ. The heart that is struck may not yield even year after year, but it will yield at last.

How this gospel has also been like a hammer to break down human obstinacy! The gospel of redemption through the precious blood of Jesus, the gospel which tells of full atonement made, the gospel which proclaims that the utmost farthing of the ransom price has been paid, and that, therefore, whosoever believeth in Jesus is free from the law, and free from guilt, and free from hell,—the telling out of this gospel has made men’s hearts burn within them, and has dashed out the very brains of sin, and made men joyfully flee to Christ.

I am afraid that there are persons of whom we speak as unlikely to be converted, who have never been fully brought under the influence of the fire of God’s Word, or beneath the fall of the hammer of the gospel. “I brought one person,” says somebody. I am glad you have; but have you ever spoken faithfully to that person about his soul? “Well, I do not know that I have; I have said a little to him.” Have you ever plainly put the gospel before him? “Well, I do not think he was quite the person to be spoken to in that fashion.” Ah! I see that you thought you were going to burn him without using fire, and to break that rock without lifting the hammer. The fact is, you believed that something better than the gospel fire was wanted in his case, or that something gentler than the gospel hammer was needed. Will you not try that old-fashioned hammer upon him? Will you not try that old fire upon him?

“But,” says someone, “there are certain districts where you cannot do any good if you try to preach the gospel. You must … have amusements and entertainments for them, you must have penny readings and concerts.” Very well, convert sinners that way if you can; I do not object to any method that results in the winning of souls. Stand on your head if that will save the people; but still, it seems to me that if God’s Word is like a fire, there is nothing like it for burning its way; and if God’s Word is like a hammer, there can be nothing like that Word for hammering down everything that stands in the way of Jesus Christ. Why, then, should we not continually try the gospel, and nothing but the gospel?

“Well,” says one, “but the poor people are dirty; we must have various sanitary improvements.” Of course we must; go on with them as fast as ever you can; the more of such things, the better. There is nothing like soapsuds and whitewash for dirty people and dirty places; but you may whitewash and soapsud them as long as you like, yet that will not save their souls without the gospel of Christ. You may go to them and plead the cause of temperance with them, and I hope you will; the more of it, the better. Make teetotallers of every one of them if you can, for it will be a great blessing to them; but still, you have not really done anything permanent if you stop there. Try the gospel! Try the gospel! Try the gospel!

The sooner we get back to that Word, the better; and the more we throw away everything else but the simple telling out of that Word, the more speedy will be the victory, and the more swift and sure will be the triumph for our God and for His Christ.

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